>> paz a show of support for iraq's embattled prime minister. shia groups gather near baghdad. hello, welcome. i'm steven cole, you're watching al jazeera from doha. a new u.n. report says half of syria's population needs urgent help to survive. francis is due to arrive in southern italy to take on the mafia. plus...
(technical difficulties) but first, the most powerful armed shia group in iraq is holding a show of power against its enemies. supporters of mok tarreda al-sada are marching across the country. other shia groups involved - the biggest event in baghdad. the mardy army commands tens of thousands, volunteering to help the iraqi army stop sunni rebels advance on baghdad. imran khan was in sadda city and sent this update. >> reporter: clearly this is a show of strength. what they want to say is they are ready to defend baghdad. these are designed to be peace platoons, not designed to go on the offensive. look around you.
i'm surrounded by heavily armed men. these images will worrisome people and remind them of the mardy army and the days of sectarian violence in 2006, 2007 and 2008. this is not the mardy army, this is a peace platt on designed to protect baghdad. >> let's take a closer look at the key armed shia groups in iraq. the mardy army was one of the leading groups against u.s. and british forces during the war, with an estimated 500,000 fighters, fighting in 2008, disbanded in 2009, but now reformed. the league of the righteous is a sattarist splinter group sent to have 10,000 fighters. men fighting in support of the syrian government. a key supporters of the government, hezbollah, the iraqi branch, is believed to have
40,000. the badder core is an important group founded in iran, thought to have 12,000 fighters. iraq's highest shia authority, ia tolla al-sistany is supporting the fight and is calling for political dialogue. his spokesman read a statement, calling for an effective government to be formed, one that represents all iraqis. nouri al-maliki showed little signs of engaging in dialogue with sunni and kurdish leaders. there has been signs of support from sunni groups. two tribal sunni leaders announced cooperation with the government forces. highly influential north of baghdad. they promised to work with the army to fight against terrorists. that's a marked contrast to iraq's former vice president,
he's calling for nouri al-maliki's removal. he has been living in exile since sentenced to death, accused of involvement with sunni death squads. we spoke to him in islamabad. >> i think now the time comes for the international community communities, relations, security council to step in and help the iraqis to get rid of the disasterous prime minister. the sunni are rejecting him, and the majority of the she item are voting against him. the grand ia tolla also in his letter today encouraged the shi'ite communities to establish better government which could contain all the iraqi factions. al jazeera contained a copy of the new united nations report
on the humanitarian crisis in syria. 10.8 million syrians are in need of help. an increase in half of the population. 6 million are internally displaced. 5 million are difficult or impossible to reach. in a strongly worded plea, the head of the u.n. called on security council to impose an arms embargo. our diplomatic editor james bays reports. >> a truck bombing in hamas before down, in a conflict where the international community stopped counting the death toll long ago. the same moment from a different angle, an explosion that took hundreds of lives. some in the international community lost interest in power suing peace talks -- pursuing peace talks. in a frank speech he gave his reaction to the indifference of
many counties, including members of the security council. i'm here to express my anger and disappointment at the cold calculation that seems to be taking hold. except to arm the parties, and watch the rage. in homs province, air strikes by asaad's forces. ban ki-moon condemned attacks like these, sometimes dropping barrels of explosives on civilian areas, as well as bombings by the opposition, and made this call. >> i urge the security council to impose an arms embargo. if divisions in the council continues to prevent a step, i urge country to do so individually. the secretary-general wrote a report to the security council about the situation in syria, al jazeera has obtained a copy.
it shows 10.8 million are in need of humanitarian assistance. the secretary-general is speaking out at a time when the conflict is spreading beyond syria's borders. russia adds ambassador to the u.n. says his country, the main weapons supplier will not be changing his policy. at least one person died in an explosion in the afghan capital. police say it was a suicide attack aimed at an afghan high peace council official. he survived the blast. the council was set up by president hamid karzai to engage with the taliban. >> in china's jin jang province, 13 have been shot dead. the group drove a car, packed with explosives into a police station in cash gar. three were injured. the region has seen a crackdown after 31 were killed in an
attack on a market. a china analyst told us the situation is deteriorating. >> things are getting from bad to worse as the local uyghurs, separatists, are resorting to increasing more wild acts of terrorism. so the president toured the province, and reaffirmed china's strong hand. to deal with the acts of terrorism which are not only confined to the area, but spreading to beijing as well. it is a very worrying situation for china. and jin jang is a large province, bringing tremendous invest. in trying to raise the standard of living, health care,
education and so on. the local residents feel marginalized. >> pope francis is visiting cal afya, a stronghold. the head of a catholic church will pray for the 3-year-old boy who was shot dead, caught in the middle of a drug wore. tim friend reports from calabria where locals have taken a stand against organised crime. >> reporter: rosa and her son marco are haunted by her husband's death. an innocent gunned down by the mafia in a case of mistaken identity. >> translation: they are worse than animals. they have no regrets, no heart. they are ready to destroy the families of innocent people. >> reporter: five years after the attack marco suffers emotional difficulties, having watched his father die in front of him. they both hope that the pope's visit will mark the beginning of
the end of violence. because here in one of the most beautiful parts of italy, and one of the poorest, the mafia killing continued. >> just a few kilometres away in this tiny church in march, the priest was murdered. the father was beaten to death by a drug dealer demanding money. a dealer on the fringes on a world of organised crime. >> that murder and the shooting of a local 3-year-old boy prompted the latest stand against the mafia. it's giving neighbouring priests determination to spoke out. >> i never felt danger. it comes from fear. that is the biggest danger. >> the pope will get a direct account of mafia activities when he shares lunch with a reformed drug deal are, having earlier visited a local prison.
>> my life has been a journey through bad situations. i touched evil from drug addiction to gaol. >> normal lie goes on despite the violence. many vatican analysts doubt the pope's power to overcome the mafia. in the past the church turned a blind eye to organised crime. the u.s. has blacklisted thailand, malaysia and venezuela for failing to combat human trafficking. secretary of state john kerry downgraded all countries in the list of the world's worst human traffickers and said there should be no impugn itty of everyone found guilty of trafficking and everyone is responsible for ending the trade. andy hall is a migration policy advisor, and said the
blacklisting will force changes. >> thailand where face and image is important. it will be a huge blow for the image of thailand, for the export labour intensive export market, whether it's seafood, rubber, fruit and vegetable and tourism, all the industries tainted by human trafficking. it will be a huge blow for the government. i think that it will bring about pi change. i believe that the government, after this shaming from the international community, will begin to take things seriously. >> still to come on the program - going up in smoke. police swoop on albania's village. plus... [ ♪ music ] ..we hear why this music festival in malaysia helps to rebuild the region's identity. all that coming up.
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welcome back. i'm steven cole. a reminder of the top headlines from around the world here on al jazeera. the most powerful armed shia group in iraq is holding what it calls a show of power against its enemies. supporters of moouk tarreda alsada are marching. others are involved. chinese police shot 13 people reportedly attacking a police station. the zinc war newsagency said three were injured. pope francis is visiting
calabria. he is visits the family of a 3-year-old killed in a mob hit earlier in the year. now the top story - the sheer display of might in iraq. we'll bring in imran khan from saddar city in baghdad. there'll be a show of support. what is happening? >> we are seeing a mass rally by the supporters of the muck tarreda alsady, a key cleric. i was at that rally. there were thousands of people there with military uniforms and a display of weaponry. rpgs, rocket-propelled grenades, rifles and many dressed in black, reminding people of the mardy army. what mok tarreda said is this is not the rebirth of the mardy
army, it was one of the militias responsible for taking part in the sectarian violence when it was at its height in 2006, 2007 and 2008. this is a defensive operation, a defensive show of strength to protect baghdad and protect shrines. they are not going on the offensive. that's what they say publicly. the visual, the guys in black, the heavy weaponry suggests anything but that, it will make a lot of people here. it's called the largest military display making a lot of people nervous. why will it make a lot of people nervous, imran? >> well, because of the reminder of the violence that bad dad has -- baghdad has seen, when iraq has taken part in the sectarian violence in 2006, 2007 and 2008.
a lot of the violence was sunni and shia militias, this is a reminder that iraq could go back that way. particularly when they are dressed in black. that will make people nervous. it's another reminder of how close and how sectarian divisions are on the rise. >> as you report, there's already marching support for mr nouri al-maliki. how much shi'ite support does he have across the country? >> let me make it clear that the rally that we are seeing isn't in support of nour rsh, it's for -- nouri al-maliki, it's for moouk tarreda. this is about them being able to protect the shrinse and baghdad. how much support does nouri al-maliki have. he won the popular vote.
but that is not enough to make him prime minister again. he needs the support of the key politicians here. the other political groups, to form a coalition. increasingly they came out in criticism. they had sunni politicians already criticise him. the grand ia tolla ali cyst tarny saying there needs to be a unified government that is more inclusive. it's seen as a criticism. and the americans chiming in saying prime minister nouri al-maliki is not doing enough to reach out to the kurds and the sunni politicians. he has the popular vote, winning 92 seats. to form a government he needs the backing of the political party to form a two-thirds majority. he doesn't have that. imran khan in baghdad.
ukraine's army started a 7-day ceasefire. petro porashenko told forces to stop military action taken against separatists. fighters told al jazeera they do not trust the promise of amnesty or safe passage. albanian police carried out a drugs bust, taking control of a village run by producers for more than 15 years. security forces swept through, destroying 25 tonnes of marijuana. from there we were sent this report. >> reporter: police now have control of lassar at. special forces go door to door, bringing the last hideouts to heel. each house is a fortress with high walls of cement block and steal gates, many with arsenals. these people showed that they are not afraid to use them. for more than a decade the village prospered selling
hundreds of tonnes of cannabis. the police operation has brought that to an end. lazar at did not go down without a fight. the main square strewn with bullet casings, testifying to the gun battles that took place. today no gun shots are quired. the men have -- fired. the men have disappeared, leaving the women and elderly looking over the destruction. there's so much cannabis. it's burnt on site. the air is thick with the smell. they've made only a handful of arrests, suggesting that many of the culprits escaped. >> translation: the police operation will continue, we'll arrest those that got away. the police will have a permanent presence from now on. we'll build a police precinct. there'll be a period of adjustment for lazar at. this place considers itself beyond the law. >> despite the hundreds of police and villages involved. casualties have been low,
suggesting a truce. >> when the operation began, i was a bridge between the police and residents. i went from house to house, asking people not to fight with the police. i asked them not to protect the men from the outside village, but to get them to leave. it a single policeman died, press would hold them responsible. >> reporter: lassar at is where police dared to tread. it made it a hideout. the prime minister said it's clear of terrorists and will be a normal village. albania is trying to enter the european union. so far it's been refused, partly because the state of lawlessness that exists. it has to prove that the organised crime it claims to have stamped out, won't grow back. in northern nigeria communities formed vigilante groups to protect themselves from boko haram.
andrew simmonds reports. >> reporter: they are not well armed, they have little training. this is a vigilante force growing in size and determination. trying to defend the capital of borno state against boko haram attacks. by night and day. tens of thousands of young men are at checkpoints or joining patrols and joint missions with the nigerian army. they are backed by borno state and provided with equipment, some are paid wages. >> we know every one. the moment we see them, we'll follow them. we are prepared for that. >> recruits are easy to fine. this man joined a year ago, after boko haram attacked his district. he lives in old magdugari a part of the city where the young are little. it's in areas of ab jacket poverty that boko haram -- ab
jelent poverty -- abject poverty that boko haram survived. they are maintaining a lookout for anything suspicious. his family is traumatised by an attack where boko haram shot dead mohammed's gather and three younger siblings. >> they tried to kill my grandfather. they killed so many people in our area. with boko haram attacks increase of course,m vigilant -- the vigilantes are not just concentrated on this job. many are tasked with intelligence, spying on informers, and tracking attackers. this is a war and the vigilantes are playing an important role. there's a siege-like mentality. boko haram are commanding the ground outside of the city killing at will, wherever, whenever they want. and not far away more than 4,000
people who escaped from attacks on surrounding villages, now seeking shelter wherever they can find it. among them is this man and his family. two weeks ago boko haram made him watch as they shot his 17-year-old son dead, along with 47 other people. >> i saw it with my own eyes. i have to accept it's god's will. i'm helpless, i can't do anything. i'm poor, and don't have any way of fighting them. >> reporter: the vigilante force is raising alarm, but these are desperate times. the vigilantes outnumber the soldiers. unlike the army, they know the neighbourhoods well. a verdict in the trial of three al jazeera journalists in egypt is expected on monday. peter greste, mohamed fadel fahmy and baher mohamed have been behind bars for 175 days. they have been accused of collaborating with the outlieued
muslim brotherhood. al jazeera rejects the charges and demands the release of its journalists. simon mcgregor-wood worked with baher mohamed during the crackdown on anti-coup protesters in egypt last year and says he was professional and impartial. >> i'm simon mcgregor-wood, and i'm a correspondent working for al jazeera english. i first met baher mohamed, working for the first time in the summer of 2013 in cairo. he made a lasting re-examination on me because -- impression or me because he was everything you want in a young journalist - energetic, engaged, always relentlessly professional. he was calm under the pressure of deadline, he was asking the right questions, wanted to find out more about the stories we covered. he was a good person to have on your team. these were stressful days. these were dangerous days. and he was the right person to
have with you. one of the most amazing things about him with a despite the fact that he was egyptian and we covered the events on the streets of his capital in his country, i never knew what he felt about what was happening. he certainly never revealed his political views, and i thought it was an outstanding sign of his commitment to the standard of journalism, his commitment to balance and impartiality, and i will always be grateful for everything he did for me, all the help in it days when we worked in cairo. i fervently hope - everyone does - that this terrible ordeal is at its end. we want to see him back where he belongs, back with his family, and eventually back doing what he's so good at. being a journalist. i would love to see him again. i would love to work with him again. a 3-day international music
festival is being held in eastern malaysia. we go there. [ ♪ music ] >> reporter: against the backdrop of borneo indigenous musicians from around the world gather to celebrate their heritage, saying they are creating music that serves as a bridge to listeners, to songs that have long been forgotten. for manuela, it means finding a new way to discover his people's identity. >> this is my soul. this is very important for me. i played the commercial music. just the traditional music. for me it is important. this is the base of the people, of the story of the people. >> the gathering is seen as one of the most successful world music festivals. 100 musicians are here to
perform, showcasing music that has long been neglected for generations. through the songs they hope to revive part of their lost heritage. for 17 years it's been held here in east malaysia. the local government says it not only increased tourism, but helped to rebuild the region's identity. >> this is part of the journey, you know, for us to make our people proud of their own heritage. therefore for the state. we have more than 28 ethnic tribes. and because of modernization, organization, sometimes they tend to lose their history, you know. >> reporter: it may seem like a summer party.
most of the musicians use instruments and language considered obsolete by some. they draw musical inspiration by nature. and used by the ancestors hundreds of years ago. a quick look at the home page of our website aljazeera.com. . >> kids with no papers and no parents are flowing across the u.s. border overwhelming the normal channels dealing with up documented border crossers and uncompanied miners. iners--minors. that's the inside story. >> hello, i'm ray suarez. the united ss